Ray Torabi: Happy father’s day to the father I never had

Children of the Mujahedin Khalq (MEK/ PMOI) are victims of enormous traumas. Six years after his defection, Mohammad Reza (Ray) Torabi, a defector of the group and the son of GhorbanAli Torabi, a victim of the group lives in Germany. On May 18th, on the occasion of Father’s Day in Germany, Mohammad Reza published a post on his Facebook account and recounted his heart-breaking memoirs about his father who died under torture by the MEK commanders.

Mohammad Reza Torabi never got to know his father, Ghorban, while he was still alive. “Destiny separated me from him at a very young age,” he writes. “When I was 1 month old, my parents were arrested and imprisoned by the Islamic republic for opposing the regime and trying to flee Iran.”

He did not see his father during the first 7 years of his life but after the release of his father from prison a long period of separation started again, this time in the very organization that his parents were fighting for. He writes, “My parents decided to leave Iran and go to Iraq and join the MEK (a religious cult that then portrayed itself as an Iranian opposition organization fighting the regime).”

Mohammad Reza Torabi

Although Mohammad Reza has understandably strong feelings against the government of Iran, he confirms that he and his family are victims of the destructive Cult of Rajavi in which they experienced cult-like violence, military life and destruction of their family center.

“After the first 6 months in MEK camps in Iraq, where I only saw my parents on the weekends, the cult leader ordered all couples to divorce,” He recalls. “From then on, I never saw my parents together again. Once every couple of weeks I would visit Baba’s military unit and he’d show me around the tanks and artillery.”

Ghorbanali Torabi

This is the journey of the young Mohammad Reza under the rule of “criminal” Massoud Rajavi, in the MEK:
“When the first Gulf War began in 1991, Rajavi, the cult leader, ordered all the parents to send their kids away. The last memory I have of Baba is the last night we spent together alone without any electricity and under a candle light. (I love candle lights. To this day, I can stare into one for hours and get lost in my mind and memories). Neither of us knew it would be our last night together. Maybe he guessed it. But I thought I was going on a trip with the other kids and coming back.

“The last image of Baba in my mind is of him with a fake smile waving goodbye to the bus I was sitting in while tears were running down his face. I know now it was a fake smile because over the years I also learned to wear the same fake smile on my face.

“I was sent to Canada and for the first 2 years, Baba wrote me one letter every year. But then the letters stopped. Deep down I knew he was gone. I just felt it. I asked the foster family I was living with many times about news of him but each time received different answers. “Baba’s in a secret mission in Iran and he can’t write you letters”, they told me.
“But the truth was that in 1995, the MEK arrested Baba, my mom and around 200 other members of its own cult and accused them of spying for the regime. It interrogated and tortured them to sign a confession statement. Baba never gave in. For a week straight they took Baba every night for interrogations and tortured him until morning hours. His cellmates say that the last morning they brought him back to the cell, his face wasn’t recognizable from the bruises and swelling and his body was covered with blood. That day Baba hanged himself with a blanket in the shower of their cell so that he wouldn’t have to bear the torture anymore. After all, he was trapped in a MEK camp in the middle of a desert in Iraq and no one could hear his voice. MEK cowards took his body and buried him in an unknown location without a tombstone. He was 39 years old. 2 years younger than me now.

“Baba suffered a lot of pain and hardships throughout his short life. But he left something behind that will carry on his name and legacy. Me. People who knew him tell me how much I resemble him. And the more I get to know him, the more I realize how much I’m like him in character as well.

“Until the day I’m alive, Baba’s legacy will live on. I too, like Baba will fight for the freedom of my country Iran. But I will also fight for justice. Those within the MEK responsible for his death will one day face justice in a criminal court. I will not forgive, and I will not forget.

“There’s still a lot that I don’t know about my Baba. But one thing I’m certain of is that he was a great man with a beautiful heart that I’m incredibly proud of.”

Mohammad Reza Torabi is only one of the hundreds of MEK children who lost their parent, family life and eventually family support due to Rajavi’s criminal cult. There are also a large number of former child soldiers and young orphans whose parents are still alive but isolated in the MEK’s camp in Albania. They are not allowed by the group leaders to contact their parents. Besides, parents will be punished by the group leaders if they try to contact them. There are also dozens of children of Mujahed parents who are taken as hostages inside the Cult of Rajavi. Unlike Mohammad Reza, they have not succeeded to leave the group.

Human rights organizations should notice the stories of these children. They are victims of violence of the Cult of Rajavi. Violation of human rights should be stopped in Camp Ashraf 3 in the village of Manez, Albania.

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